ConocoPhillips and Oxy post strong Q4 results

oil-fieldConocoPhillips and Occidental Petroleum Corp (OXY) both posted better-than-expected Q4 earnings, rising 66 per cent and 35 per cent respectively, due to higher oil prices.

ConocoPhillips reported Q4 profit of US$3.4 billion, up from US$2 billion, a year earlier. While Occidental reported a Q4 profit of US$1.63 billion, up from US$1.21 billion, a year earlier.

In announcing the results, Stephen I. Chazen, President and Chief Executive Officer, Oxy said, “The 2011 net income of US$6.8 billion was 49 per cent higher than 2010. “

ConocoPhillips' Q4 results marked the end of a year in which major oil companies' earnings soared, driven by high oil prices due to improved energy demand in emerging markets.

In October Oxy took the first step toward restarting production at a Libyan oil field it partially owns, making it the first US company to get some Libyan crude production going again since Moammar Gadhafi's overthrow. Chazen said he expects Libyan production to be at around 5,000 barrels a day, with opportunities for further growth later in the year.

The average price at which Oxy sold a barrel of oil in the fourth-quarter jumped 22.4 per cent to US$96.42 from the same period a year earlier. For Oxy, average prices increased 25 per cent for oil, while natural-gas liquids prices rose 12 per cent worldwide.

Oxy is ramping up its capital budget to US$8.3 billion in 2012, up about 10 per cent. Revenue in the company's main oil and gas segment rose 27 per cent as profit increased 52 per cent. Chemical sales grew 9.8 per cent, pushing profit up 30 per cent.

ConocoPhillips' Q4 production was one per cent lower compared with the fourth quarter of 2010. Oxy’s daily oil and natural-gas production grew 4.8 per cent from a year earlier to 748,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day on higher domestic volume, partially offsetting lower volume in the Middle East, North Africa and Colombia.

ConocoPhillips also said its plans to split into two companies is on track to be completed in the second quarter.

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